Friday morning musings:
1. Ferrari has let the option to pick up Felipe Massa’s contract for 2013 lapse, which means he will not be in the team next year.
By interviewing Mark Webber for the job, Ferrari tipped that it’s looking for a solid second banana rather than a young speedster who would make Fernando Alonso uncomfortable.
There’s another veteran in F1 who doesn’t have a contract for next year. He’s fast — but not fast enough to really challenge Alonso — and he has strong ties to Ferrari.
I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that Michael Schumacher could sign on for 2013 and then ride off into the sunset for the last time wearing Ferrari red.
2. A.J. Allmendinger has still not said anything about what made him flunk the NASCAR drug test. There are suggestions it had to do with emphetamines and his business people are pushing the “accidental” angle — that somehow, something he ingested legally put him over the line and it was all an accident. I’m hearing it was something else entirely. And that’s the problem: when there is no clear explanation forthcoming, the rumours start. Speak up, A.J., before it’s too late.
3. Danica Patrick told the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday that she wants to do the “double” next U.S. Memorial Day weekend — the Indianapolis 500 as well as the Coca-Cola 600 — if the logistics can be worked out and she can get a good ride at Indy. She’ll be driving in the Sprint Cup series for Tony Stewart next year and he’s done it previously, so if she wants to try I can’t see him standing in her way. Who knows? Perhaps he’ll start laying the groundwork for the eventual establishment of an Indy car team to compliment his NASCAR team after he retires from driving. If Roger, Chip and maybe Michael can do it, why not him?
4. JR Motorsports has launched a contest around everybody’s favourite all-‘round Canadian driver, Ron Fellows, who will be competing for them at Watkins Glen and at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in the Nationwide Series in August. Go to www.JRMracing.com or www.Fellows5.com for contest details and questions. The Grand Prize is a three-day driving experience package at Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club outside Las Vegas.
5. While a lot of attention will be on Paul Tracy in the Daytona Prototype class this afternoon in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, let’s not lose track of the fact that the AIM Autosport of Woodbridge Ferrari driven by Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato is very likely going to win the GT class in that race. Segal will start the race with the best race-win record in the series as well as the GT class championship points lead. Segal and the first-year AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari program also have a series-best six GT podium finishes in the season’s first eight races, with only one result out of the top four all year.
6. I’ve been in the newspaper (and radio and TV) biz for longer than I can even remember. One of the things I was taught by my very first city editor, Jim Pauk, was to use language that people can understand. Ergo (that’s a fancy word for “therefore”), I can’t figure out why modern communication specialists (they used to be called “reporters”) have to copy down, or repeat, everything the way it’s written or spoken. This is particularly true when it comes to medical explanations. These days, you would think we are all doctors, the way things come out in the paper and on the web. Example. Charlie Kimball apparently crashed during an IndyCar test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. All the stories are reporting that he suffered a fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his right hand. Okay, I’m not stupid. I suspect he has a broken hand. But why not just say it? What the heck if a metacarpal? Same thing with broken legs. Why not say, “broken leg?” Why say, “fracture of the femur?”
7. Chevrolet announced Thursday that its NASCAR Nationwide Series car for 2013 will be the Camaro. The Camaro, as we all know, is built in Oshawa. Wouldn’t it be neat if the Nationwide Series and the Grand Am Rolex Series raced a double-header at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next summer? Maybe everybody employed at GM Oshawa would get a free ticket so they could cheer on “Canada’s car!”
8. Okay – so this is my scenario for 2013: Continuing student unrest in Montreal forces F1 to review the Canadian Grand Prix. Its future there could be in jeopardy. So Montreal needs a new headline event for Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. How about a NASCAR Sprint Cup race? This means the Nationwide Series event would be free to move to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The Grand Am Rolex could support both. The NASCAR trucks could double-head with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at CTMP. Add the American Le Mans Series and the Canadian motorcycle championship and Summer 2013 at the facility north of Bowmanville could be non-stop action. I’m dreaming – but it’s a nice dream. (Oh, I have a sollution to the F1 problem. Coming Monday.)